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GMB Welcome Nationwide Pay Cut U-Turn

Monday, April 25, 2016
GMB Welcome Cancellation Of Proposed Pay Cuts For Cleaners Working For Carillion

When we unite and stand up to bullying employers, it is working people who have the power says GMB.

GMB has welcomed the cancellation of proposed pay cuts for cleaners working for Carillion at Nationwide headquarters, following the announcement by GMB that it was balloting its members for industrial action. GMB has now called off the ballot, as all the objectives of the proposed industrial action have been achieved. (See notes to editors for GMB press releases about Nationwide staff)

Carillion had advised GMB members that new shifts would be introduced on 23rd May with reduced hours, so that most staff would have been £40 per week worse off.

Originally, Carillion claimed in writing that the reason for the changes was because this was what Nationwide wanted to happen, and that the changes were due to a change in Nationwide’s requirement for the contract. In a further letter handed to staff, Carillion now claims that it was the initiator of the change.

Nationwide is a principal partner for the Living Wage Foundation and recently announced that all contractors, including the cleaners at Nationwide House, would have their hourly rate raised to £8.25 per hour. The living wage promoted by the Living Wage Foundation is distinct from the new National Living Wage introduced by the government and is a voluntary commitment from employers. The reduced hours proposed by Carillion would have led to pay cuts of £40 per week, even with the new higher hourly rate.

Although Carillion eventually backed down in the face of proposed strike action, it refused to consult or negotiate with GMB, the cleaners’ union, despite the fact that 100% of the cleaners are members and that they had voted to reject the changes.

Carillion has a long track record as an anti-trade union employer, and was involved in the unlawful blacklisting of trade union activists through the now defunct organisation, the Consulting Association.

Carole Vallelly. GMB Regional Organiser, said: “I am very proud of our members who stood together, and showed that when we unite and stand up to bullying employers, it is working people who have the power.

Their employer, Carillion, sought to bring in shift changes which would have forced the cleaners onto incredibly anti-social hours that would have been incompatible with family life; and most of them would have lost around £40 per week.

Carillion failed to conduct meaningful consultation. They handed our members letters saying that one to one consultations would be held first thing the very next morning, making it difficult for them to consult their union, and making it impossible for them to arrange trade union representation in time for the meetings. When GMB approached Carillion, after our members unanimously rejected the pay cuts and shift changes at a mass meeting, Carillion declined to negotiate with the union.

GMB has experience with Carillion and as an employer they seem stuck in a time warp of macho anti-union posturing. Had Carillion been prepared to talk, it may well have been possible for a resolution to have been reached without our members having to contemplate strike action.

Nationwide prides itself on being a living wage employer and an ethical business. And yet, it chooses to employ its cleaners through a rogue employer like Carillion that is up to its neck in blacklisting, refuses to seek resolution to disputes through talks, and that one minute blames Nationwide for changes to staff conditions and the next minute says that the changes were its own idea.

Despite the so-called ethical stance of Nationwide, it was not Nationwide’s ethics which stopped our members being forced onto anti-social hours and having savage pay cuts. These changes were only stopped by the threat of industrial action from GMB.

GMB calls on Nationwide to put its money where its mouth is, and insist that its contractors have a respectful and modern approach to industrial relations, so that any potential disputes can be dealt with by talks and negotiations. Our members have shown that they are strong and united, and if their employer does attack their pay, terms and conditions or shifts, then they are prepared to take industrial action.”

End

Contact: Carole Vallelly on 07912 181476 or GMB press office on 07739 182691 or 07970 863411

Notes to editors

1 GMB press release dated Thursday, April 21, 2016
GMB Cleaners At Nationwide Move Closer To Industrial Action Over Pay Cuts

We demand that Nationwide and Carillion get their acts together, respect the loyalty and dedication of these cleaners, and withdraw these scandalous attacks says GMB.

GMB members employed as cleaners by Carillion at Nationwide’s headquarters in Swindon have voted unanimously in favour of industrial action in a consultative ballot.

After increasing the workers’ hourly rate, Carillion advised GMB members that new shifts would be introduced on Monday, 23rd May, with reduced hours, leaving most staff £40 per week worse off.

Nationwide is a principal partner for the Living Wage Foundation and recently announced that all contractors, including the cleaners at Nationwide House, would have their hourly rate raised to £8.25 per hour. The Living Wage is separate from the new National Living Wage and is a voluntary commitment from employers.

Letters handed to their staff by Carillion clearly state that the changes are at the request of Nationwide, and that the changes are due to a change in Nationwide’s requirement for the contract.

Currently the cleaners work from 6:00 am until 2:30 pm on weekdays. The new proposed shifts will be between 5:00 pm and 10:30 pm. In addition, some staff will be required to work every weekday evening and then an additional full day at the weekend. Most of the cleaners are mothers who would be unable to care for their children if they were moved to these twilight shifts, and many of them have worked at Nationwide House for several years.

Cleaners voted to reject the changes at a GMB mass meeting last week. Carillion had told them that they would have to individually sign new contracts on Monday and Tuesday of this week, but after pressure from GMB union, this has been delayed.

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “I have met these cleaners several times now, and I have been struck by how proud they are of the work they do, and how responsible they feel for ensuring Nationwide House is clean and a pleasant place to work. Some of them have loyally worked at the Nationwide HQ for almost 15 years. That loyalty is being cruelly betrayed by Carillion and Nationwide.

Their employer, Carillion, is bringing in shift changes which will force the cleaners onto incredibly anti-social hours that are incompatible with family life; and most of them would lose around £40 per week.

For some of our members this pay cut will mean the difference between whether or not they are able to pay their rent and put food on their tables. Our members see it as a sick joke that Nationwide Building Society prides itself on being a living wage employer, and an ethical business, when these disastrous changes are being forced onto the lowest paid and most vulnerable people working in their head office.

Carillion claim that Nationwide want these changes because it is more efficient to clean after office staff have gone home. This is manifestly nonsense as the cleaning staff already start at 6:00 am, and clean before the office staff arrive in the mornings. GMB believes that the real reason for these changes is to save money, so that they can pay for introducing the living wage at the expense of our members.

Carillion and Nationwide seem to be squabbling with both companies blaming the other for these cuts to hours. GMB demands that they get their act together, respect the loyalty and dedication of these cleaners, and withdraw these scandalous attacks on their hours and take home pay.

GMB is now organising a formal industrial action ballot, and the message for Carillion is that our members will not accept these twilight shifts, and will not accept these pay cuts. They won’t accept them from Carillion, and they won’t accept them from any other contractor if Nationwide seeks to move the contract from Carillion to another employer. Our members are incredibly determined to fight these changes.”

End

2 GMB press release dated Monday, April 18, 2016

GMB Demands That Nationwide Building Society Comes Clean Over Cuts To Cleaners’ Pay

It is a bit rich for Nationwide to deny that it has asked for the hours to be cut, when the document detailing with reduced hours has Nationwide’s own logo on it says GMB.

GMB, the union for cleaning staff, is accusing Nationwide of deliberately issuing a misleading statement denying the changes. The union released documents today (Monday 18th April 2016) that prove that cleaners working at Nationwide’s head office in Swindon are having their hours reduced with most staff ending up around £40 per week worse off. (See additional resources for Carillion documents provided by GMB).

The cleaners are employed by contractor, Carillion PLC, who provides facilities management services to Nationwide. Last week the cleaners were given letters from Carillion advising that new shift rotas were to be introduced. GMB organized a mass meeting and the cleaners unanimously rejected the changes to their contracts. (See notes to editors for GMB press releases about Nationwide staff).

The letters from Carillion state that the changes are at the request of Nationwide Building Society. One of the letters, dated 11th April 2016, says:

“Why are we doing this? … This is what NBS [Nationwide Building Society] want, therefore we are adapting to our customers changing requirement”

The document outlining the revised shift rota shows the logos of Carillion PLC Nationwide Building Society.

The changes are being introduced as Nationwide Building Society shifts staff employed by contractors onto the Living Wage of £8.25 per hour. The Living Wage is a rate of pay calculated by the Living Wage Foundation and is a voluntary commitment from employers, separate to the government’s recently introduced National Living Wage.

Nationwide has also moved many staff to twilight shifts requiring staff to work between 5:00 pm and 10:30 pm every week day with some staff working an additional day shift at the weekend.

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “I am particularly shocked that Nationwide is not only cutting cleaners hours, but also has the cheek to issue a statement denying that it is happening. We weren’t born yesterday. Our members are being called into one to one meetings with Carillion and are being required to sign new contracts that will shift them to fewer and more anti-social hours. But when we truthfully publicized what is going on, Nationwide issued a statement misleadingly saying that ‘The GMB’s accusation is disappointing, surprising and, quite frankly, wrong. We have not asked our partners Carillion to reduce the hours of its employees.’

I have proof, in letter from Carillion, that our members are being told that their hours are being cut because this is what Nationwide wants. It is a bit rich for Nationwide to deny that it has asked for the hours to be cut, when the document detailing the new shifts with reduced hours even has Nationwide’s own logo on it.

The cleaners were handed letters on 11th April, notifying them of consultation meetings first thing in the morning on the 12th April. This gave them no time to consult their trade union for advice, and we regard this as a deliberate attempt to bounce the staff, rather than engage in meaningful and substantive consultation.”

End

3 GMB press release dated Thursday, April 14, 2016

GMB Cleaners Unanimously Reject £40 A Week Pay Cut At Nationwide

Nationwide want to paint themselves as a 'good' employer, while not caring in the slightest about the serious impact on their lowest paid workers says GMB.

GMB members working as cleaners at Nationwide’s head office, have voted unanimously to reject reductions to their hours that would see them £40 a week worse off. (See notes to editors for previous GMB press releases about Nationwide).

A company-wide policy to adhere to wages set out by the Living Wage Foundation has resulted in GMB members, employed as cleaners by Carillion at Nationwide’s head office in Swindon, having their hours cut. Nationwide signed up to the Living Wage campaign in April 2014.

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “Nationwide hypocrites pride themselves on being a living wage employer, and are principal partners of the living wage foundation, but have only now introduced the living wage for their cleaners, the people who need it most.

Astoundingly, Nationwide has decided to cut the cleaners’ hours to finance paying their workers a higher hourly wage, leaving most people £40 a week worse off.

This move by Nationwide is a cynical attempt to paint themselves as a good employer, while not caring in the slightest about the serious impact on their lowest paid workers, who will struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table. At the same time, they are changing shift rotas, and asking people to work unsociable hours for less money.'

It is particularly galling that Nationwide’s head of citizenship, Stephen Uden, sits on the board of the living wage foundation and in April 2014 was quoted as saying "In lots of companies there are those almost invisible staff who serve you a coffee in the morning or the cleaner I see when I get into the office at 7am. And it is those people that work for the Nationwide that we feel should be appropriately rewarded whether they are directly working for us or not." Does Stephen Uden feel that a £40 per week pay cut is an appropriate reward for these 'invisible staff’?

GMB have called for immediate talks with Nationwide and Carillion.”

End

4 GMB press release dated Monday, August 3, 2015

GMB To Hold Protest Over Nationwide’s Failure To Pay Living Wage To Contract Staff Who Clean And Keep Their Premises Secure

Whilst trumpeting itself as a great employer and being Principle Partners of the Living Wage campaign the very "invisible” security and cleaning staff are still not paid a Living Wage.

GMB, the union for contract workers, is calling on Nationwide to enable private contractor Carillon to pay the Living Wage to staff working on Nationwide sites as security and cleaning staff. GMB members will hold a protest on Friday 7th August.

The GMB protest will take place from:

AT 10.00AM

FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST

NATIONWIDE 48 REGENT ST

SWINDON SN1 1UH

Staff employed by Carillion under contract to Nationwide, and who work as security and cleaning staff on Nationwide premises, have been refused the Living Wage by Carillon. Carillion blame Nationwide saying it can’t pay living wage as Nationwide hasn't paid the necessary uplift to do it.

Nationwide is a principle partner of the Living Wage foundation, and has said it wants to help spur other companies across the UK to join, but despite this their cleaners and security staff are not paid the living wage, in most cases, being paid very little more than current National Minimum Wage of £6.50 an hour for adults over 21 years old.

In April 2014 Nationwide's Head of Citizenship, Stephen Uden, said "In lots of companies there are those almost invisible staff who serve you a coffee in the morning or the cleaner I see when I get into the office at 7am. And it is those people that work for the Nationwide that we feel should be appropriately rewarded whether they are directly working for us or not."

GMB's Regional Organiser Carole Vallelly said "The hypocrisy of Nationwide is breath-taking.

Whilst trumpeting itself as a great employer and being Principle Partners of the Living Wage campaign GMB discovers that the very "invisible” security and cleaning staff Stephen Uden referred to, are still not paid a Living Wage.

The cleaners and security staff at Nationwide offices up and down the country are employed by Nationwide contractors, Carillion, and certainly seem to be ‘invisible’ to Nationwide when it comes to the Living Wage.

This is disgraceful, and GMB is calling for Nationwide to not only immediately practise what they preach and pay the Living Wage but to backdate the pay increase to April 2014 when Nationwide gained such great publicity for their support of this very campaign."

Ends

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